Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2006

District shines on assessment tests

December 14, 2006

The Kansas Department of Education's release of the building report cards was an invitation to celebrate for USD 491.

The district achieved nine total standards of excellence on the Kansas assessment and continued adequate yearly progress in all buildings and as a district. The No Child Left Behind Act mandates the yearly tests.

"I would say we are very pleased with our results this year," said Don Grosdidier, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

The district earned three buildingwide standards of excellence at Eudora High School and Eudora Middle School.

Eudora Middle School achieved the award in reading and EHS achieved it in both reading and math.

Last year, only single grade levels were eligible to be recognized. The state awards the title when a high percentage of students score in the upper levels of a particular assessment test and a small percentage score low.

"There's nothing real surprising to us in this," Grosdidier said. "We're thinking it's a good measure of our performance and our students. We're very proud of the efforts they put in."

Last year, the district hit standards of excellence in 11-of-13 categories.

It's impossible to compare this year's results to last year's, Grosdidier said.

The test itself was different and more students took the test this year, Grosdidier said. Every student from third grade to 12th grade was tested.

Two numbers in particular stood out for Grosdidier.

As a whole, 86.2 percent of the district's students achieved the standard of excellence in math and 84.5 achieved the standard in reading.

"Those percentages districtwide are very good," Grosdidier said. "I think that's because the intent of No Child Left Behind is that all students are reaching proficiency. If you look at those numbers, we're very, very close to that."

The district doesn't need to achieve 100 percent proficiency for No Child Left Behind until 2014.

"Here we are in 2006 and we're very close to that," Grosdidier said.

The district wasn't far behind in the categories that didn't hit the standard, Grosdidier said.

"You always like to see every grade level, every building reaching standards of excellence," Grosdidier said. "That would be your goal every single year, but there's a lot of success here either way."

The district received student scores back from the test last spring and used them to implement school improvement plans for the current year.

The district started the virtual prescriptive learning program to improve and maintain performance in the secondary grades.

"It's a very prescriptive program that identifies individual student concerns and then designs an individual program to improve that particular student's skill level," Grosdidier said.

The program will prepare students for the next round of tests in 2007.

"Our experience is that we will continue to show gains and improvement. Our teachers are working extremely hard," Grosdidier said. "When that happens, we fully expect good things are going to occur."

The district's other citations included standards of excellence in math by students in the fifth and 10th grades and in reading by the fifth-, sixth-, eighth- and 11th-graders.

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